Cooks, bakers lament short supply of key ingredients

Syazwani Hj Rosli

Popular cooking and baking ingredients have been growing scarce since the onset of the COVID-19 outbreak in the country.

Cook Hajah Niqman binti Haji Mohammad told the Bulletin that she finds it difficult to obtain certain ingredients for her dishes even though the supermarket shelves seemed fully stocked.

“Ever since the final week of Ramadhan, it’s been quite tough to find the ingredients I need to make lasagna,” she said. “I’ve come across a number of people facing the same problem, especially during the Hari Raya Aidilfitri festivities, when all the good quality ingredients were gone.”

She added, “I prepare my food with fresh ingredients. So when I see a produce that I need for my recipes available at the supermarket, I have to buy it immediately or it’d be gone the next day.”

Baker Hazimah binti Matdini, who recently learnt to bake cheesecakes, lamented the recent shortage of cream cheese at supermarkets.

Shoppers browse daily products at a supermarket. PHOTO: RAHWANI ZAHARI

“I believe that the supply chain has been unable to keep up with the sudden demand for cream cheese,” she said. “Some shops try to restock but it will fly off the shelf almost immediately.”

She believed that there are hoarders out there who would “literally buy up everything and leave none for others. It’s troubling. My mother even texted me once and asked if I could secure her some cream cheese. But like her, I couldn’t find it anywhere”.

However, she said she was grateful that some shops have placed a purchase limit on certain products and urged other outlets to ensure the availability of their products to meet the market demand.

Meanwhile, baker Nur Hiqmah binti Razali, who specialises in brownies, also sees shortage in packaging items, especially cake boxes.

“At the moment, I have to put my brownies in much large boxes because cake boxes are sold out everywhere,” she said. “Everyone is baking now. And many are now starting to sell them too. I think Bruneians are now spending more time in the kitchen to fill their time. The trend has overwhelmed the supply chain.”